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seeking information on the rock island southern railroad

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  • Member since
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  • From: ROCK ISLAND IL
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seeking information on the rock island southern railroad
Posted by fourt on Sunday, April 16, 2017 11:38 PM

I am looking for information on the rock island southern railroad. All i have been able to find is these two sites.

http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr375.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Island_Southern_Railway

 My mom did have a book from 1976 Reynolds town that did have some more information and some pictures taken in Reynolds. Willing to bet the people that took them are no longer with us, and the origanl pictures are lost.

Trying to find out the route it took from rock island to towns beyond that. Thanks.

 

Modeling on the cheap

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Posted by SSW9389 on Monday, April 17, 2017 12:37 AM

The book sourced on the wikipedia site is another good place to start.

 

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Posted by fourt on Monday, April 17, 2017 1:06 AM

 Not sure if i want to spend $45 dollers on a book without knowing how much of the book had on the RIS.

Did find some old maps from 1894/1905 here. Some of the places i need are not covered. Also it is amazing how much the towns have changed from then to now.

http://www.historicmapworks.com/

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, April 17, 2017 6:59 AM

I found some bits of info on Bridgehunter.  While using the pictures on here, and following with google maps, I was surprised to see that only a few segments of the RIS r.o.w. can be spotted.  Sometimes with google maps, spotting old RR grades is easy, but not much left to spot with the RIS.  Fields have taken over much of r.o.w., and bridges and trestles are gone.

https://bridgehunter.com/category/railroad/rock-island-southern-railway/

Mike.

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Posted by SSW9389 on Monday, April 17, 2017 7:52 AM

Check local libraries to see if they have old topographical or old USGS soils maps.  

COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
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Posted by fourt on Monday, April 17, 2017 11:15 PM

Also this place might have some information.

http://www.richs.cc/

To bad that the Rock Island railroad socity went belly up a few years back.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, April 17, 2017 11:43 PM

OK, so did you try the historical society?

Mike.

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Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 12:03 AM
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Posted by fourt on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 12:09 AM

 Mike A search on that site only pulled up one article on the railroad, and it was about a death. They want anyware from 10-25 dollers to print up a article.

Northwest That site is very good only bad thing some parts of map are of differnt years say part is 1958 next part is 1925 etc.

 Been able to see where the route was in realation to roads towns etc.

 Looks like most of the right of way is long gone, with just a couple stations left.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:53 AM

That's what I discovered as I followed the route through the bridgehunter site.  Only a few areas are recognizable as the old r.o.w.

Mike.

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Posted by NVSRR on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:12 AM

State archives should have material on it.   You might have to dig.    Also.  Fire insurance. Maps like Sanborn fire maps.  They seam to be plentiful for that part.of the us.And strangely,   eBay.  I have found some odd obscur. rr's  on there.

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Posted by NVSRR on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:26 AM

I did a quick eBay search and some things did come up.    An issue of mainline modeler,  a couple pics,  a map cd, and some stock certifications.  The sellers might able to.point you to more.

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 2:42 PM

fourt

Also this place might have some information.

http://www.richs.cc/

To bad that the Rock Island railroad socity went belly up a few years back.

 

The Rock Island Tech Society probably wouldn't have much on the RIS.  That being said, someone did do a presentation on the RIS at one of the annual meets many years ago.  I'll look thru some of my RITS publications to see if there is anything.

Jeff  

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:56 PM

Yea, your right Jeff, the CRI&P would have maybe done some interchange with the RIS, and the RIS used CRI&P tracks to get into Rock Island.  I also did a quick look at Warren Co., and Mercer Co., historical sites, and didn't see anything that jumped out at me.  Most of the smaller county historical societies, you have to contact, and see what they have, or visit their facilities, and then you usually pay for any info, which, isn't so bad, but it's a lot of extra foot work, with maybe little results.

I just love researching gone and forgotten railroads, so I jumped into Fourt's thread to see what I could find.  Wasn't by any means trying to hijack.

Mike.

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Posted by fourt on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 10:30 PM

At lest for online the sanborn fire maps did not have anything. Have to try ebay yet.

 If time this weekend the rock island libary. And borrow my dads computer to scan the pictures in the reyolnds ill book from 1976. It had quite a bit information on the railroad in the town and pictures. Wish i had the orginal pictures, not sure how well they will scan. Bet the orginal owners of them are no longer with us.

Not sure if i have anything in my rits stuff or not. will have to check also. Thanks all for the info.

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 10:51 PM

Good luck, Fourt.  I'll be interested in what you find.

Mike.

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Posted by accompanist on Sunday, April 19, 2020 12:46 AM

Fourt, I may be one of the last people on earth who was loosely associated with Lucy R. Walsh's Rock Island Southerm Railway, as my father was the last agent in Aledo. I was allowed to ride the locomotive and blow the whistle. [I was born in 1936, and my father was agent from 1950 to the end in 1952.] I met Mrs. Walsh once while accompanying my father to her office in Rock Island. Her desk was a wonder4ful old roll-top. One of the very saddest days in my life was that day in 1952 when, after a lengthy embargo, their steam engine ran down to the very end of the line in Aledo to pick up an empty tank car. Instead of skipping school that afternoon, I attended, but raced on my bicycle to try to catch the last run, but when I got there all I could see was the receding smoke of the locomotive. One of my high school teachers lived in Burgess and rode the passenger trains until regular passenger service was discontinued. There exists an excellent article embedded in a longer article about the railroads of Galesburg, and it is just full of little-known in formation. The man who wrote it (I think his name was Robinson, but I could probably find out for you) had a model of the RIS. I don't know what gauge. He was not friendly toward me, and would not allow me to see his set-up. Of cxourse the right-of-way between Gilchrist and Monmouth had been long abandoned by the time I cam along, but the rails had never been removed at that time, and one could see the line clearly. I'll be glad to share with you whatever information I can. The agent at Reynolds gave me an unused ticket, but I don't know where it is now. I had several souvenirs on the third floor of our Blue Ribben grocery store building in Aledo, buit I have no idea whether they were taken. Roger Stancliff, who I think is or was a banker in Aledo and is my contemporary, was keen on having those items. Melisander Wildberger, Corvallis, Oregon 

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 10:52 AM

If you go to Cameron IL (a few miles west of Galesburg) where the former Santa Fe (now BNSF) passed over the CB&Q line to Burlington Iowa (now also BNSF) the bridge has a blank space to the north side.  Originally that was the Rock Island Southern.  The RIS line went into Galesburg and supposedly a siding not far from the ADM plant is the last remaining rail of the RIS - used as car storage last time I was there.  I took pictures but frankly there is nothing interesting about them.  I did snoop around Monmouth IL trying to find remnants of right of way and such.  No luck but perhaps a bit more time with very old street maps would have helped.   We did find suggestions of M & St L right of way, or at least we guessed that is what it was.      I do enjoy railway archeology of that sort. 

There actually HAS been a fair amount about the RIS in the annual special newspaper supplements by the Galesburg Register Mail issued each year for Railroad Days in June.  And railroad artist Ron Hatch has featured Rock Island Southern stuff on his annual paintings/posters that he does for Railroad Days.  Here is one but he has done others.  (I think one poster he sold was Cameron showing a RIS car.  It must be sold out as it is not on his website.)

 

http://ronhatchart.com/raillustrations_011.htm

Ron's website has contact information and based on how friendly he has always seemed to be at Railroad Days' train show, I'd call or email and ask what he would suggest for finding information.  He is a real local historian for railroad information that is for sure.

Dave Nelson

 

 

 

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